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Home About SAIT News & Events Campus construction plans in motion

Campus construction plans in motion

An artistic rendering of planned renovations to the exterior of the John Ware building on SAIT campus.

The next major improvements to campus are underway, so two of our oldest buildings will run smarter and smoother by spring 2018 and beyond.

Due in large part to $20.7 million in federal support offered to SAIT through the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund (SIF), the John Ware and Senator Burns buildings will be upgraded to better meet current and future needs.

The electrical and utility infrastructures of both buildings will be enhanced, and the envelope of the John Ware Building overhauled to create higher efficiencies and the modern look seen in the renderings below.

Brad Boser, Director of Facilities Management, says timelines are especially strict on this project since the SIF will only pay out if the agreed-upon renewals are 100% complete by April 2018.

"From a schedule perspective, we are being very cautious," says Boser. "We're focusing on the SIF construction and ensuring that any concurrent projects don't interfere those plans."

An artistic rendering of planned renovations to the exterior northeast corner of the John Ware Building.

An artistic rendering of planned renovations to the interior of the John Ware Building.

An artistic rendering of planned renovations to the 4Nines patio.

Artistic renderings of planned renovations to the John Ware building on SAIT camps.

The future is what happens when you're making renovations

A firm deadline is no cause for hasty decisions, however — while Boser's team has access to building systems, they're taking it slow so they can assess the full potential for various spaces.

"Although we can't afford to do everything we want, we will do what we can to set the stage for a smart campus," says Boser explaining his team will prepare IT cabling and electrical systems for the low voltage solutions and room sensors that will be required in the future.

The upgrades will also mean increases to sustainability — the new electrical and utility systems on the John Ware rooftop have a reduced footprint of 70%, meaning decreased emissions and operation costs.

Our physical campus has grown 24% since 2007, but not all our building systems are equipped to handle the increased pressure. With origin dates of 1958 and 1967 The John Ware and Senator Burns (respectively) are in need of the SIF updates.

"A lot of what we're doing won't be visible to students and employees, but it will reduce issues relating to power outages and heating and cooling issues - these issues are at the root of most of the complaints that we receive through Helpline.

What’s the master plan?

SAIT worked with Gibbs Gage Architects on John Ware’s contemporary new look, but that’s not where the partnership ends. The Calgary-based architectural firm is signed on to help create a Campus Development Plan, which will incorporate the broad strategies of the Campus Plan and the Educational Plan. This detailed Campus Development Plan will outline the tactics to carry SAIT campus into the future.

“Once we make the big decisions to determine the best use of space, we will be able to make better choices day to day that will advance SAIT’s overall strategy,” says Brad Boser, Director of Facilities Management.

What to expect when you're exchanging

Out with the old, in with the new — construction will shake up campus life for a while, but disruptions to employees and students will be minimized as much as possible. Much of the work in the Senator Burns Building is planned for nights and weekends.

Timelines and details are evolving, but here's what we know today: 

  • All employees and classes for the School of Information and Communication Technologies will be in the Senator Burns building by fall 2018. 
  • All and classes for the School of Hospitality and Tourism will be in the John Ware Building by fall 2018. 
  • Some employees from both schools will work from temporary spaces throughout construction. 
  • The John Ware Building and all food services within — the 4Nines, the Marketplace, the Butchery and the Highwood — will be closed from April 28 until fall 2017.
  • Work to the envelope of the John Ware should conclude by fall 2017, when classes and services will resume. 
  • The Burns Bistro is permanently closed to accommodate instructional labs and a tech shop for ICT's Information Technology Telecom Systems program. There will be no SAIT Summer Camps in the John Ware Building. Hospitality and Tourism will have reduced camp offerings in the Senator Burns Building. 
  • Jackson's Garden will not open for the 2017 season. It will open again in spring 2018. 
  • The honey bee colony living on the John Ware rooftop has been relocated to a safe location under the care of an experienced beekeeper. There are plans to welcome a new colony to campus once construction is complete. 
  • Of the money offered to SAIT through the SIF, $500 thousand was allotted for new equipment for the Green Building Technologies Lab and Demonstration Centre which will open summer 2017.